Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2011-29a

Common name:

Red-necked Grebe

Scientific name: Podiceps grisegena
Date: 19 Jun 2011
Time: 14:45
Length of time observed: 45 minutes
Number: 1
Age: adult
Location: Hyrum Reservoir
County: Cache
Elevation: 4,666 ft.
Distance to bird: down to 50 ft.
Optical equipment: Nikon Monarch 10x42 binoculars, Nikon D90 with 80-400mm lens.
Weather: Mostly cloudy with periodic sun breaks.
Light Conditions: Mostly diffuse mid-day sunlight.
Description:        Size of bird: Large grebe, intermediate between an Eared Grebe and a Western Grebe in size.
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Grebe shape.
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Grayish body, rusty red neck with black stripe down the dorsal surface, grayish cheeks outlined by brighter white, black cap.
(Description:)            Bill Type: Pointed, yellow at base and dark towards tip. Thicker than that of a Western Grebe.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Cool gray body, rusty brownish-red neck with black dorsal stripe, ashy gray cheeks that approached white around the edges, black cap somewhat shaggy at back. Dark eye. Dagger-like bill yellow at base of both mandibles and otherwise gray with a hint of greenish. A distinctive species in full breeding plumage.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: Did not vocalize.
Behavior: Swimming and sometimes diving. Preened briefly. Brought two invertebrates up to eat: one whole crayfish and one other prey item that I think was just the claw of a second crayfish.
Habitat: Open water of a reservoir. Spent some time far from shore and some time within 20-30 yards of shore.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
The Red-necked Grebe is a distinctive species that would be difficult to confuse in breeding plumage. Western and Clark's Grebes do not have the red neck of this grebe, are larger, have even longer thinner necks, and were present for direct comparison. Horned Grebe has rufous neck but lacks white cheek patches. Pattern of a Ruddy Duck is similar, but Ruddy Ducks do not have the pointed bill or long neck of this bird.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen Red-necked Grebes on several occasions in Washington.
References consulted: Sibley Guide to Birds.
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Ryan P. O'Donnell
Observer's address: 1098 Crescent Dr, Logan
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Bob Atwood first found the bird on 18 Jun 2011.
Date prepared: 19 Jun 2011
Additional material: Photos